Since our last observations on this topic, several articles have appeared in different newspapers commenting upon our arguments and proposals. Several writers seem to hold unnecessarily strong views, and are assiduous in bringing forward the old argument that local option in the matter of rating will defeat the movement in favour of the adoption of the Acts by the ratepayers in many districts, but especially in London. It is well known to every student of the public library movement, that nothing has retarded its progress so much as the compulsory public plébiscite of citizens. Whether this was accomplished by means of public meetings or voting papers, the result was invariably the same, only a very small proportion of voters took the trouble to vote. We cannot see, therefore, that any particular consideration is due to their views on the subject, and especially in London, with such lamentable examples of utter lack of public spirit as have been presented, time after time, by places like Paddington, Marylebone, Islington, and St. Pancras. The most of this argument as regards London, the sole remaining stronghold of the plebiscite where large and populous areas are concerned, is very much nullified by the fact that a Bill has been prepared by the Library Association, and will probably be introduced by Lord Windsor, in which the power of adopting the Acts is transferred to the Local Authority. We cannot regard seriously the argument that local option in rating will hinder further progress, since it is perfectly notorious to everyone that it is nothing but the Parliamentary limitation on the amount of the Library Rate which stifles every movement designed to strengthen, extend, and popularize our Public Libraries. In our next issue we hope to be able to print a tabular view of the progress of the Library movement, which will prove pretty conclusively the increased rate of growth since the power of adoption was given to the Local Authorities. Meanwhile we publish another contribution on the general question by a well‐known and capable librarian of much experience.
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